Mike Kershaw once had a career in financial management, but in recent years he has ditched that to devote himself completely to music.
He has five releases under his own name to date, and this EP follows on from the generously-reviewed LP Ice Age. Departure opens with Farewell, a hopeful anthem on the Oldfield edge of the pop/rock spectrum, complete with catchy guitar lines. Lyrically, Frances Mary Stuart has echoes of Eleanor Rigby; musically it’s swathed in proggy keyboards, Mellotron choir and arpeggioed guitar chords, and outstays its welcome. Learning to say ‘when’ is an art in itself, and at times Kershaw’s abundant enthusiasm for what he’s doing overwhelms his technique. That said, his deep, mordant vocals (to these ears a lower-range version of the Psychedelic Furs’ Richard Butler) lend themselves well to storytelling, and he’s clearly endowed with compositional savvy. An Ordinary Poison is replete with theremin, retro keys and catchy, ominous chorus (‘Grind it up in pestle and mortar/Dissolve the powder in the water’). The doomy pop of Origami and confessional Old News are further testament to their creator’s sweetly melancholy musical mind.